Lichens and Mycorrhizae

Lichens and Mycorrhizae - had to develop chemical defenses...

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Lichens and Mycorrhizae Lichens are a symbiosis between a photosynthetic organism (an alga or cyanobacterium) and a fungus (either an ascomycete or a basidiomycete). Lichen often live in marginal environments and often grow only one or two centimeters per year. Historically this symbiosis has been considered an example of mutualism, where both organisms benefit and neither is harmed by their association. Organization of a typical lichen is shown in Figure 9.
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Lichens have long been recognized as useful organisms for humans. Certain species of lichen are now recognized as indicators of environmental pollution, other types of lichens have been used to make natural dyes by indigenous poeople, or even to make poison-tipped arrowheads. Because they often live in marginal habitats, lichens have
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Unformatted text preview: had to develop chemical defenses, making them prime targets for natural antibiotic research. One estimate places half of lichen species as possessing some sort of antibiotic chemicals. Soe lichen are even edible, although many others are harmful if eaten, so extreme caution should be used if investigating edible fungi. Mycorrhizae are fungi (usually a zygomycete or basidiomycete) symbiotic with the roots of plants. Both relationships are mutualistic : both parties benefit. Fungi provide nutrients from the substrate, the phototroph provides food. Plants with mycorrhizae grow better: the plant gets nutrients from the fungus in exchange for carbohydrates....
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