Agricultural Sciences

Soil Fungi and Soil Fertility. An Introduction to Soil by S. D. Garrett

By S. D. Garrett

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Sample text

R. as a result of seed "bacterization" with Azotobacter. Increases in crop yield in some field experiments have also been obtained at the Rothamsted Experimental Station; the whole subject has been reviewed by Margaret E. Brown (1974), who has concluded that production of gibberellins, and possibly of other growth hormones too, by Azotobacter may be responsible for much of the increase in crop yield due to bacterization. Soil actinomycetes These micro-organisms are common in soils, especially in neutral and alkaline soils.

In the eukaryotic cells of vascular plants, algae and fungi, the cytoplasmic membrane bounding the protoplast is enclosed within a rigid cell-wall, which acts as a corset to the cell; thus it restricts uncontrolled expansion of the protoplast when the cell or tissue is immersed in a hypotonic liquid medium, of osmotic strength less than that of the cell sap. In higher plants, the cell wall (secondary) has a framework of cellulose, which in some tissues becomes further strengthened by deposition of lignin; the framework of the cell wall in some fungi is also of cellulose, but in the majority it is strengthened by chitin.

Spores are produced by septation of the apical region of the aerial hyphae, and subsequent separation of the cells. In other respects, actinomycetes are much like bacteria in general, and their colonies grow at much the same rate, more slowly than those of most fungi. Like the majority of bacteria, actinomycetes are usually intolerant of 42 SOIL FUNGI AND SOIL FERTILITY acidity. e. light-textured sandy soils. The " e a r t h y " odour of newly wetted soils has been traced to a volatile growth product of actinomycetes, and similarly an unwelcome taint at one time found in the flesh of freshly caught Scots salmon.

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