Mycorrhizas are mutually beneficial associations between soil-borne fungi and plant roots. Mycorrhizal fungi provide their host plant with essential nutrients in exchange for sugars and/or lipids. Traditionally, transport and translocation of macronutrients, including nitrogen and phosphorus, throughout the fungal mycelium and towards the host plant are well studied. However, the regulation of nutrient exchange and their contribution in the morphogenesis and development of mycorrhizas remains unclear. In this Opinion, we argue that adding micronutrients in the current models of symbiotic transport is essential to fully understand the establishment, maintenance, and functioning of mycorrhizal associations. Homeostatic mechanisms at the cellular level and the first transport proteins involved have been recently documented for zinc (Zn) in arbuscular mycorrhizal, ectomycorrhizal, and ericoid mycorrhizal fungi. Mycorrhizal plants benefit from an improved Zn status in control conditions and are better protected when environmental Zn availability fluctuates. These recent progresses are paving the way for a better understanding of micronutrient allocation in mycorrhizas. Revising our vision on the role of micronutrients, particularly of Zn, in these interactions will allow a better use of mycorrhizal fungi in sustainable agriculture and forestry, and will increase management practices in waste land, as well as in agricultural and natural ecosystems.
Bibliographical noteFunding Information:
JR acknowledges Research Foundation Flanders for financial support (grant n° G079213 ). MU is supported by a PhD fellowship from the Pakistan Higher Education Commission . LC holds a Flanders Innovation & Entrepreneurships PhD fellowship (IWT project 141461). KG acknowledges support of the North Carolina Agriculture Research Service (NCARS) and the North Carolina Soybean Producers Association ( 2019-1656 ). SZ and JR are supported by the French ANR project “MYCOTRANS”.
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