The International Collection of Vesicular Arbuscular Mycorrhizal Fungi
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Arbuscular Mycorrhizal Fungi (AMF)
Arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi are a group of soil-borne fungi found in almost any habitat worldwide. These fungi partner with many plant species by colonizing roots and producing hyphae in the rhizosphere. The relationship between AMF and plants is generally a mutually beneficial symbiosis, these benefits can be physiological, nutritional, ecological or any combination of these processes. These fungi also support many ecosystem services including increased soil stability.
The relationship is called an “arbuscular mycorrhizal” association with “arbuscular” being Latin for tree-like, referring to specialized fungal structures interfacing with the contents of root cortical cells and “mycorrhizal” referring to the fungus (myco) – root (rhizo) interaction. This association began more than 400 million years ago with the first land plants (Pirozynski, K. A. & Malloch, D. W, 1975). Vascular plants and mycorrhizal fungi have continued coevolving to the present day (Hoeksema et al. 2018).
These fungi are obligate symbionts, they cannot survive without associating with plant roots because they depend upon the carbon from host plants for their energy and form a unique evolutionary lineage classified as the phylum Glomeromycota. Therefore, manipulating and managing mycorrhizas has the potential to allow more sustainable agricultural practices and improved restoration of natural ecosystems (Koziol et al. 2018).
The International Collection of Vesicular Arbuscular Mycorrhizal Fungi: INVAM has a storied history, it was begun at the University of Florida, Gainsville by Normand Schenk and was managed by his devoted team from 1985 to 1990. With Dr. Schenck’s retirement it was moved to West Virginia University, overseen, and expanded by curator Dr. Joseph Morton and assistant curator William Wheeler; currently there are 900 isolates from around the world maintained in the collection. Dr. Morton retired from West Virginia University in 2017. The collection has since been competently managed by William Wheeler and Dr. Matt Kassan has served as INVAM’s Interim Director. The collection is being transferred to the University of Kansas under the direction of Drs. James Bever, Peggy Schultz, Elizabeth Koziol and Terra Lubin.
- Hoeksema, J. D., Bever, J. D., Chakraborty, S., Chaudhary, V. B., Gardes, M., Gehring, C. A., ... & Zee, P. C. 2018. Evolutionary history of plant hosts and fungal symbionts predicts the strength of mycorrhizal mutualism. Communications biology. 1: 1-10.
- Koziol, L., Schultz, P. A., House, G., Bauer, J., Middleton, E. & Bever., J. D. 2018. Plant microbiome and native plant restoration: The example of native mycorrhizal fungi. BioScience. 68:996-1006.
- Pirozynski, K.A. & Malloch, D. W. 1975. The origin of land plants: a matter of mycotropism. Biosystems 6:153–164.
- Stürmer, S. L., Bever J. D., Schultz P. A. & Bentivenga S. P. 2021. Celebrating INVAM: 35 years of the largest living culture collection of arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi. Mycorrhiza, 1:117-126.