As a final check the researchers examined both the cores with and without Collembola for a particular phospholipid fatty acid (PLFA) that is characteristic for AM mycelia. They found that this particular PLFA contained significant amounts of 13C in cores not exposed to Collembola. However those soil cores that were exposed to collembola which fed on the mycorrhizal mycelia did not have 13C enriched PFLAs..
This research establishes that arbuscular mycorrhizal mycelia provide a major highway in terms of transporting carbon from plants to soil. This new understanding of how both mycorrhizal mycelia and the insect population of soil impact on the transport of carbon will assist researchers trying to understand what preserves a healthy soil and provides recycled carbon for supporting below ground biodiversity. It will also open up a new understanding of the food-webs and nutrient flow in soil which is fundamental to sustainable agriculture.