This review analyses the phenomenon of bacterial mycophagy, which we define as a set of phenotypic behaviours that enable bacteria to obtain nutrients from living fungi and thus allow the conversion of fungal into bacterial biomass. We recognize three types of bacterial strategies to derive nutrition from fungi: necrotrophy, extracellular biotrophy and endocellular biotrophy. Each is characterized by a set of uniquely sequential and differently overlapping interactions with the fungal target. We offer a detailed analysis of the nature of these interactions, as well as a comprehensive overview of methodologies for assessing and quantifying their individual contributions to the mycophagy phenotype. Furthermore, we discuss future prospects for the study and exploitation of bacterial mycophagy, including the need for appropriate tools to detect bacterial mycophagy in situ in order to be able to understand, predict and possibly manipulate the way in which mycophagous bacteria affect fungal activity, turnover, and community structure in soils and other ecosystems.
Original languageEnglish
JournalNew Phytologist
Journal publication date2008

ID: 333099