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


rhizophagy (uncountable)

  1. (entomology) The eating of roots.
    • 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.... (1999-P. Lavelle, Earthworm Management in Tropical Agroecosystems, CABI, P. 116)
  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.
    • We suggest that this ability of roots to incorporate microbes be termed rhizophagy to reflect the apparent active uptake mechanism. (2013-C. Paungfoo-Lonhienne et al. (original author), Mol. Microbial Ecology of the Rhizosphere, John Wiley, doi:10.1002/9781118297674.ch115)
    • Rhizophagy may be considered to be a cyclic process that involves symbiotic bacteria—perhaps more appropriately denominated ‘rhizophagy cycle’ or ‘rhizophagy symbiosis'. (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)