Overview

Brief Summary

Funneliformis mosseae is an arbuscular mycorrhizal (AM) fungus in the family Glomeraceae (order Glomerales, phylum Glomeromycota) which forms an intimate, obligate symbiosis with the roots of many land plants, many of which are cultivated commercially, such as onion. (Schüßler and Walker, 2010; Tacon et al., 1983; Cox and Sanders, 1974).  It has a world-wide distribution and is considered one of the most important and most commonly occurring plant-associated fungi in many parts of the world (Al-Qarawi et al., 2013).

Originally described by Mosse and Bowen (1968), the fungus was placed in the genus Endogone by  Nicolson & Gerd and named Endogone mosseae in 1968 in the phylum Zygomycete.  It was later moved to Glomus mosseae in 1974 (Gerd. & Trappe).  In 2001, its phylum was moved to Glomeromycota when Walker et al. erected a new fungal phylum based on phylogenetic molecular analyses of small subunit (SSU) rRNA gene sequences.  Further analyses prompted Schüßler and Walker to erect a new genus, Funneliformis, in 2010.

In a Polish study of 76 plant species in 21 families, Blaszkowski (1993) found F. mosseae spores on 59.5% of all cultivated plants and 18.9% of wild plants. F. mosseae has been shown to prefer cultivated land (Mosse and Bowen, 1968) and this preference may explain its widespread, worldwide distribution (Rosendahl et al., 2009).

The fungus aids in the uptake of slow release nutrients and water (improving drought tolerance and aiding plant establishment in harsh climates) and receives carbon from the host in return, which is used for energy.  The positive effects of AM association is evident especially in soils naturally low in phosphorus (Al-Qawari et al., 2013). 



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Distribution

World-wide distribution, reported on all continents except Antarctica, generally in association with arable land used in agriculture (Rosendahl et al, 2009).

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Physical Description

Morphology

The fungus produces colored globe-like, pear-shaped spores averaging 0.2 mm in diameter on or just under the soil surface (substratum) in fruiting bodies (sporocarps) of one to 20 spores or individually or in small clusters in the substratum.  Spores arise from hyphae attached to the spore base, called subtending hyphae.  A curved septum separates the hyphae and spore (Schüßler and Walker, 2010). The base of the spore is typically funnel shaped, giving rise to the name ‘funneliformis’.  A thin network of loosely interwoven clear (hyaline) septate hyphae, called a peridium, sometimes enclose the spores (Gerdemann and Trappe, 1974).

Young spores are pale cream yellow, darkening with age to a light brown.  Up to two hyaline outer membranes encloses the darker, yellow-brown inner layer.  The outermost layer often sloughs off with age, and the presence of a middle layer varies among isolates.  (West Virginia University, 2014).  A network of vacuoles can be seen in both the spores and hyphae (Gerdemann and Trappe, 1974).

Germ tubes emerge from the remnants of subtending hyphae (Mosse and Bowen, 1968).  

Figure 1. Close up of spore, showing funnel-shaped base with curved septum and subtending hyphae.   http://www.dal.ca/content/dam/dalhousie/pdf/faculty/agriculture/oacc/en/osc2/researcher-q%26a-2015/OSCII-researcher-interview-Hamel-short-2015.pdf

Figure 2. Juvenile spores.  http://invam.wvu.edu/the-fungi/classification/glomaceae/funneliformis/mosseae

Figure 3. Mature spores with perideum.  http://invam.wvu.edu/thefungi/classification/glomaceae/funneliformis/mosseae

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Ecology

Habitat

Most terrestrial ecosystems including soils from rangelands, agricultural farm land, sand dunes, deserts, and other natural habitat (Al-Qarawi et al, 2013).

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Associations

One of the most commonly occurring plant-associated fungi in many parts of the world (Al-Qarawi et al., 2013).

Reported on the following crops: onion, Coprosma, Liquidambar, Coleus, Fuchsia, clover, strawberry, apple, tomato, bean, pea, cucumber, Nardus, rye grass, tobacco, soybean, citrus, maize, Aesculus indica and barley (Mosse, 1973).

Blaszkowski (1993) found F. mosseae spores on 59.5% of all cultivated plants and 18.9% of wild plants in a Polish study of 76 plant species.



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Life History and Behavior

Growth

Hyphae are found “running” alongside the host’s exterior root surface and infect the host by entering between epidermal cells.  The hyphae spread from this ‘infection point’ intercellularly through the root cortex.  Hypha branching off from the intercellular hyphae or from an adjacent host cell enters the intracellular space of the cortical cell, forming arbuscules (finely branched hyphae similar to haustoria) which is the site of nutrient exchange. (Cox and Sanders, 1974).

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Conservation

Conservation Status

Not endangered.

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Threats

No major threats.  However addition of fertilizers (especially phosphorus) to soils suppresses colonization of roots and growth (Verbruggen et al, 2012).

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Notes

References

Al-Qarawi A. A., Mridha M. A. U. and Dhar P.P. 2013. Report on Funneliformis mosseae (Nicol. & Gerd) Gerd. And Trappe from Rangeland Soil of Saudi Arabia. Research Jour. Of Biotech. 8:1.

Blaszkowski, J. 1993. Comparative studies of the occurrence of arbuscular fungi and mycorrhizae (Glomales) in cultivated and uncultivated soils of Poland.  Acta Myco. 208: 93-140.

Cox, G and F. Sanders. 1974.  Ultrastructure of the host-fungus interface in a vesicular-arbuscular mycorrhiza. New Phytol. 73:901-912.

Gerdemann, J.W. and J.M. Trappe.  1974.  The Endogonaceae in the Pacific Northwest.  New York Botanical Garden, NY, NY.  

Mosse, B. and G.D. Bowen.  1968.  A key to the recognition of some endogone spore types.  Brit. Mycol. Soc. 51: 

Mosse, B. 1973.  Advances in the study of vesicular-arbuscular mycorrhiza.  Annu. Rev. Phytopathol. 11:171-196.

Rosendahl, S., P. McGee, J.B.  Morton. 2009. Lack of global population genetic differentiation in the arbuscular mycorrhizal fungus Glomus mosseae suggests a recent range expansion which may have coincided with the spread of agriculture. Molecular Ecology. 18: 4316–4329.

Schüßler A., D. Schwarzott and C. Walker. 2001.  A new fungal phylum, the Glomeromycota: phylogeny and evolution.  Mycol. Res. 105: 1413 - 1421. 

Schüßler A. and Walker C. 2010. The Glomeromycota, A species list with new families and new genera. Gloucester, UK, 58

Tacon, F.L., F. A. Skinner and B. Mosse.  1983.  Spore germination and hyphal growth of a vesicular-arbuscular mycorrhizal fungus, Glomus mosseae (Gerdemann and Trappe), under decreased oxygen and increased carbon dioxide concentrations. Can. J. Microbiol. Vol 29.

Verbruggen, E., M.G.A. Van der Heijden, M. C. Rillig and E. T. Kiers. 2012. Mycorrhizal fungal establishment in agricultural soils: factors determining inoculation success. New Phytologist. 197: 1104-1109.

West Virginia University.  2014.  International culture collection of (vesicular) arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi; Funneliformis mosseae. http://invam.wvu.edu/the-fungi/classification/glomaceae/funneliformis/mosseae



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Names and Taxonomy

Taxonomy

Kingdom: Fungi

Phylum: Glomeromycota

Class:  Glomeromycetes

Order: Glomerales

Family: Glomeraceae

Genus: Funneliformis

Species: mosseae

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