Arbuscular mycorrhizal (AM) fungi play an essential role for the nutrient uptake of the majority of land plants, including many important crop species. The extraradical mycelium of the fungus takes up nutrients from the soil, transfers these nutrients to the intraradical mycelium within the host root, and exchanges the nutrients against carbon from the host across a specialized plant-fungal interface. The contribution of the AM symbiosis to the phosphate nutrition has long been known, but whether AM fungi contribute similarly to the nitrogen nutrition of their host is still controversially discussed. However, there is a growing body of evidence that demonstrates that AM fungi can actively transfer nitrogen to their host, and that the host plant with its carbon supply stimulates this transport, and that the periarbuscular membrane of the host is able to facilitate the active uptake of nitrogen from the mycorrhizal interface. In this review, our current knowledge about nitrogen transport through the fungal hyphae and across the mycorrhizal interface is summarized, and we discuss the regulation of these pathways and major research gaps.
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