The Plant-Growth-Promoting Fungus, Mortierella elongata: Its Biology, Ecological Distribution, and Growth-Promoting Activities

Growth enhancement of loblolly pine (<i>Pinus taeda</i>) in response to inoculation of <i>M. elongata</i> (Isolate PMI93). After inoculation, seedlings of <i>P. taeda</i> were grown in sterile sand or natural soil systems (30% soil collected from <i>P. taeda</i> forest, Durham, NC, mixed with 70% sterile sand [w/w]) for 10 months. Credits: Hui-Ling Liao, UF/IFAS

Recent studies show that Mortierella elongata can perform plant-growth promotion across different types of crops, including bahiagrass, corn, tomato, squash, and watermelon. Compared to the well-known species that have plant-growth-promotion abilities (e.g., mycorrhizal fungi, Trichoderma), growers, agents, and stakeholders are not familiar with “Mortierella” despite the important role these fungal taxa play in promoting the growth of their crops. This new 5-page publication of the UF/IFAS Department of Soil and Water Sciences provides a brief overview of Mortierella from biological, taxonomical, ecological, and functional perspectives to help readers learn the biology and potential modes of action of this fungus. Written by Hui-Ling Liao.