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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).