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From rhizo- (root) +‎ -phagy (to feed on).


rhizophagy (uncountable)

1. (Entomology) The eating of roots.

1999-P. Lavelle, Earthworm Management in Tropical Agroecosystems, CABI, P. 116:

The possibility of rhizophagous behavior has been associated with analysis of earthworm gizzard or gut contents for ingested root fragments. Proving active rhizophagy with this method is difficult....

2. (Botany) The degradation of symbiotic microbes within root cells; 'rhizophagy symbiosis', or 'rhizophagy cycle', is a cyclic process whereby plants obtain nutrients from symbiotic bacteria that alternate between a root intracellular endophytic phase and a free-living soil phase. Bacteria acquire soil nutrients in the free-living soil phase; nutrients are extracted from bacteria oxidatively in the intracellular endophytic phase.

2013-C. Paungfoo-Lonhienne et al. (original author), Mol. Microbial Ecology of the Rhizosphere, John Wiley, doi:10.1002/9781118297674.ch115:

We suggest that this ability of roots to incorporate microbes be termed rhizophagy to reflect the apparent active uptake mechanism.

2017-S.K. Verma et al., Indigenous endophytic seed bacteria promote seedling development and defend against fungal disease in browntop millet (Urochloa ramosa), J. Appl. Microbiol., doi:10.1111/jam.13673:

Rhizophagy may be considered to be a cyclic process that involves symbiotic bacteria—perhaps more appropriately denominated ‘rhizophagy cycle’ or ‘rhizophagy symbiosis'.