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What is Haustoria?

The name derives from the Latin word haustor, which means "one who draws, drains, or drinks," and refers to the activity carried out by the outgrowth. A haustorium (plural haustoria) is a root-like structure that grows into or around another structure to absorb water or nutrients in botany and mycology. The structure of mistletoe and members of the broomrape family, for example, penetrates the tissue of the host and extracts nutrients from it. It is the appendage or part of a parasitic fungus (the hyphal tip) that serves a similar role in mycology.

Haustoria Definition Biology: 

The knob-like root structure that parasitic angiosperms use to penetrate the host plant is referred to as the haustorium. It acts as a feeding organ for the host plant, absorbing nutrients and water.


The haustorium is a fungus cell or tissue projection that absorbs nutrients and water in fungal species. A hyphal projection enters the cytoplasm of a host plant cell.


What are Haustorial Roots?

Sucking or Haustorial Roots – These roots are found in parasitic plants. Both xylem and phloem tissues can be found in haustorial roots. These slender roots penetrate the host plant's xylem and phloem, allowing them to absorb water, minerals, and food. Parasites develop adventitious roots from the stem which penetrate into the tissue of the host plant and suck nutrients. Examples: Cuscuta (dodder), Cassytha, Orobanche (broomrape), Viscum (mistletoe), Dendrophthoe.


Haustoria in Cuscuta

Cuscuta (dodder) is a genus of over 201 parasitic plants that are yellow, orange, (rarely green) in colour. It is also known in India as Amar bail. On the basis of the work of the Angiosperm Phylogeny Group, it is now recognised as belonging to the morning glory family, Convolvulaceae, after previously being regarded as the only genus in the Cuscutaceae family. The genus is present worldwide in temperate and tropical climates, with the greatest species diversity in subtropical and tropical climates; however, the genus is uncommon in cool temperate climates, with only four species native to northern Europe.


Dodder wraps itself around a plant after it has attached itself to it. If the host contains food that is beneficial to the dodder, the dodder will develop haustoria or haustorial roots that will enter the host's vascular system. The dodder's initial root in the soil then dies. The dodder has the ability to develop and bind to several plants. It can grow more or less continuously in tropical areas and reach high into the canopy of shrubs and trees; however, it is an annual plant in cold temperate regions and is restricted to relatively low vegetation that can be reached by new seedlings each spring.


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Fungal Haustoria

Haustoria are formed by fungi from all major divisions. Haustoria comes in a variety of shapes and sizes. In general, when a fungus penetrates the plasma membrane of a host, it releases enzymes that break down the cell walls, allowing more organic carbon to be transferred from the host to the fungus. As a result, an insect infected with a parasitic fungus-like Cordyceps may appear to be "eating from the inside out" as the haustoria extends inside it.


Small spheres are the most basic haustoria. The largest are complex formations that expand between the cell wall and the cell membrane, adding substantial mass to a cell. The entire fungus may become enclosed in the cell in the Chytridiomycota, and whether this should be considered equivalent to a haustorium is debatable.


Intercellular hyphae, appressoria, and external hyphae are all sources of haustoria. As it passes through the cell wall, the hypha narrows before expanding and invaginating the cell. At the point of invagination, a thickened, electron-dense collar of material is deposited around the hypha. In the invaginated region, the host cell wall is also heavily modified. There are no inclusions in the plasma membrane, and the outer layer contains more polysaccharide. Both partners' walls have been severely weakened.


Within the haustorial complex, the functional exchange takes place. The fungus receives organic carbon from the host, and metabolic activity within the complex is much higher than outside. The fungus absorbs carbon from the host and transports it to the rest of the thallus. The host plant appears to be responding to the fungus's signals, and the complex appears to be under the invader's influence.

What is Haustorium?

In plant science and mycology, a haustorium (plural haustoria) is a root-like structure that develops into or around one more construction to ingest water or supplements. For instance, in mistletoe or individuals from the broomrape family, the construction infiltrates the host's tissue and draws supplements from it. In mycology, it alludes to the limb or piece of a parasitic organism (the hyphal tip), which fills a comparable role. Minute haustoria infiltrate the host plant's cell divider and siphon supplements from the space between the cell divider and plasma film however don't enter the actual layer. Bigger (typically herbal, not parasitic) haustoria do this at the tissue level.

The derivation of the name relates to the Latin word haustor meaning the person who draws, depletes or beverages, and alludes to the activity performed by the outgrowth.

Structure of Haustoria

A few mistletoes (counting most Australian species) produce just a solitary (essential) haustorium, which really creates from the root zone of the incipient organism (see Dispersal and Germination). This essential haustorium can turn out to be enormous and complex, regularly framing a bulbous association with the host (right). Different mistletoes produce epicortical sprinters snap to see picture, which fill in plant like style along the outside of the host branch, sending down generally basic auxiliary haustoria at customary stretches (beneath). Epicortical sprinters are more normal in mistletoes of sticky woodlands. They might be in a less specific state (see Origin of the Mistletoe Habit), and the course of advancement might have been towards a more proficient essential haustorium, and subsequent decrease and loss of the epicortical sprinters.

There is extensive variety in the intricacy of the essential haustorium in those species which need epicortical sprinters. Specifically, there are numerous species where haustorial strands develop inside the host, spreading from the underlying mark of connection. They fill in the cambial zone of the host, generally downwards, towards the wellspring of water and mineral supplements. In certain species these cortical strands produce auxiliary shoots which emit through the bark, creating stems, leaves and blossoms similar to root suckers in earthly bushes (right). In Diplatia grandibractea of inland Australia these strands can arrive at 5 m long, and produce numerous auxiliary shoots over a wide region. Subsequently despite the fact that a mistletoe might seem to have just a solitary essential haustorium, there might be an organization of retaining strands spreading inside the host. Periodically, as these strands become woody, they might get through the host's bark (left underneath), and despite the fact that they may then look like epicortical sprinters, they are very unique, and address a much more significant level of specialization.

Role of Haustorium? 

Biotrophic organisms have fostered a scope of "ways of life" in their relationship with plants from the mutualistic to the parasitic. Vesicular-arbuscular mycorrhizal growths structure mutualistic associations with the foundations of their plant, in which the organism acquires sugars from the plant and gives phosphates and different minerals consequently. At the other limit, fine mold and rust growths structure an obligately parasitic relationship in which the host plant turns into a hotspot for sugars, amino acids, and different supplements. These parasites foster a specific organ, the haustorium inside plant cells for the move of supplements from the cell to contagious thallus. The haustorium is expected to play a vital part in the capacity of these parasites to rival the creating plant for photoassimilates and different supplements yet fundamental inquiries remain with respect to the capacity of the haustorium. These include: What are the significant supplements moved? What components are engaged with the vehicle? How do individual parts of the haustorium–have the cell interface add to the supplement stream? Also generally speaking, how does haustorial work connect with the biotrophic connection among host and parasite? In this issue PNAS gives a significant development by portraying a sugar carrier situated at the haustorium–having an interface.

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FAQs on Haustorium

1. What is the Function of Haustoria?

The haustorium is a tube that penetrates the host's tissues and absorbs nutrients and water. The haustoria of parasitic plants like dodder and mistletoe form a vascular union with the host plant to redirect the nutrients.

2. What Type of Fungi has Haustoria?

Rust fungi are biotrophic fungi that can be identified by the rust-coloured pustules of spores that appear on their hosts. These fungi are highly specialised, attacking only certain plant species or strains. They can be destructive cereal pathogens, severely limiting grain production.

3. What is the Haustoria Embryo Sac?

The embryo sac is nourished by antipodals, which have a nutritive function. Antipodal cells produce substances that aid in the growth and production of the endosperm. Haustoria forms primarily at the chalazal end of the chalazal and enters nuclear tissue to absorb nutrients.

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