Perhaps the most significant part of this plant fungal interaction is the pro-
tective, carbon-rich sheath that forms around the hyphae of arbuscular mycorrhizae.
The sheath is made of glomalin, a substance only recently identified (in 1996). Glomalin is 30-40 percent carbon,
which researchers think may account for much of the carbon stored in fertile soils. . . .
A greenhouse trial by Mycorrhizal Applications Inc. in Oregon found that mycorrhizal inoculation of tall fescue nearly doubled a soil’s rate of carbon increase in a year and that glomalin correlated significantly with the increase.
Furthermore, glomalin resists breakdown for seven to 42 years, making it a long-term carbon store.
Mike Amaranthus, Ph.D., is president of
Mycorrhizal Applications Inc., phone 541-476-
3985, firstname.lastname@example.org, website www.