Indirect Benefits of Association

3.1 Soil Structure Stabilization

3.1.1 Soil Aggregation

Notwithstanding the direct role of the AM symbiosis in plant resource acquisition, the mycorrhizosphere also provides significant indirect benefits of interaction which can buffer and (or) stabilize the soil matrix. In this regard, processes such as mycorrhizal-induced soil aggregation and metal biosorption (Figs. 11.8 and 11.9) are considered, here, to fall within the category of indirect benefits since plant investment in the mycorrhizosphere can provide key ecological services which are not directly associated with the intimately co-modulated mechanism of resource exchange. Accordingly, it can also be argued that non-associated species could benefit

Fig. 11.8 Mycorrhizal-induced micro- and macroaggregate formation indicating affinities for binding soil nutrients and water. (adapted from Miller and Jastrow 1990 and Rillig and Mummey 2006)

Mycorrhizosphere

Soil Micropores

Soil Micropores

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