Katie Field: Underground and overground at ICOM9

In this guest post, Katie Field, researcher in plant-soil interactions and leader of the Field lab at the University of Leeds, UK, reports back from ICOM9, the 9th International Conference on Mycorrhiza, with a round-up of the highlights (and desserts). Mycorrhizal researchers from around the globe converged on the Clarion Congress Hotel in Prague on the 30th July for a week...
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Behind the Cover: New Phytologist 215:4, September 2017

Fungal friend, or foe? In this issue of Behind the Cover, New Phytologist Editor Ian Dickie explains the complicated role of the mushroom gracing the cover of issue 215:4. Amanita muscaria, or fly agaric, is one of the most iconic of fungi: it is the classic mushroom of fairy tales and children's cartoons. Native to the northern hemisphere, it has become a widespread invasi...
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With a little help from my fungus

If you need help defending your tomato plants from pests, enlisting the help of a fungus might not be at the top of your list. But a recent study, published in New Phytologist, has shown that a fungus could actually be an unlikely ally in the greenhouse. Similar to the beneficial microbes that inhabit the human gut, plants can play host to a range of microbes, some of which ...
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From sea to summit: plant colonisation of the land

When plants moved from water onto land, everything changed. Nutrients were scavenged from rocks to form the earliest soils, atmospheric oxygen levels rose dramatically, and plants provided the food that enticed other organisms to expand across the terrestrial world. Building on the success of a meeting in 2010, the New Phytologist Trust organised a multidisciplinary symposiu...
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Behind the Cover: New Phytologist 212:4, December 2016

Go down to the woods today, and it won’t just be trees that you see, but a woody world inhabited by a diverse range of organisms, including insect herbivores, pollinators, epiphytes, mycorrhizal fungi and fungal pathogens. These organisms make themselves known in different ways. One that gardeners and orchardists will be grudgingly familiar with is apple canker, the fungal i...
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Behind the Cover: New Phytologist 212:2, October 2016

In plants, the cell walls are one of the first lines of defence: they protect the cell from successful invasion and resist fungal pathogens. To defend themselves, plants reinforce the cell wall near the site of fungal penetration by producing a dome-shaped thickening of the cell wall, called a papilla, between the epidermal wall and the plasma membrane. If the fungus is success...
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Behind the Cover: New Phytologist 211:1, July 2016

How does a fungal endophyte, growing inside a blade of grass, colonise the leaf surface? Understanding this process was the aim of Barry Scott and the co-authors of research published in issue 211:1 of New Phytologist. The cover image shows epiphyllous hyphae of Epichloe festucae (in blue) growing on the surface of a leaf blade of Lolium perenne (perennial ryegrass). To ...
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Behind the Cover: New Phytologist 210:2, April 2016

The mushroom on the cover of New Phytologist 210:2 could be assisting the spread of shrubs into the Arctic, and may play an important role in accelerating carbon losses from the warming tundra biome. The photograph, which accompanies the Letter ‘Stable isotope probing implicates a species of Cortinarius in carbon transfer through ectomycorrhizal fungal mycelial networks in A...
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Hidden orchid heterotrophs

While most green plants meet their entire demand for carbon through photosynthesis, some need a helping hand during particular life stages. Orchids produce seeds that require carbon and nutrients from mycorrhizal fungi for germination, a form of nutrition called ‘initial mycoheterotrophy’. Most orchids grow out of it, developing their own ability to fix carbon from photosynthes...
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