Plant nutrients, with the exception of nitrogen, are ultimately derived from weathering of primary minerals. Traditional theories about the role of ectomycorrhizal fungi in plant nutrition have emphasized quantitative effects on uptake and transport of dissolved nutrients. Qualitative effects of the symbiosis on the ability of plants to access organic nitrogen and phosphorus sources have also become increasingly apparent. Recent research suggests that ectomycorrhizal fungi mobilize other essential plant nutrients directly from minerals through excretion of organic acids. This enables ectomycorrhizal plants to utilize essential nutrients from insoluble mineral sources and affects nutrient cycling in forest systems.