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Journal of Chemical Ecology
Vol.40, No. 7, 2014; Pages: 804 – 815


Phytohormone Profiles Induced by Trichoderma Isolates Correspond with Their Biocontrol and Plant Growth-Promoting Activity on Melon Plants

Ainhoa Martínez-Medina, Maria Del Mar Alguacil, Jose A. Pascual, Saskia C.M. Van Wees

BPlant-Microbe Interactions, Department of Biology, Utrecht University, H.R. Kruyt building, Padualaan 8, 3584, CH, Utrecht, The Netherlands

Abstract

The application of Trichoderma strains with biocontrol and plant growth-promoting capacities to plant substrates can help reduce the input of chemical pesticides and fertilizers in agriculture. Some Trichoderma isolates can directly affect plant pathogens, but they also are known to influence the phytohormonal network of their host plant, thus leading to an improvement of plant growth and stress tolerance. In this study, we tested whether alterations in the phytohormone signature induced by different Trichoderma isolates correspond with their ability for biocontrol and growth promotion. Four Trichoderma isolates were collected from agricultural soils and were identified as the species Trichoderma harzianum (two isolates), Trichoderma ghanense, and Trichoderma hamatum. Their antagonistic activity against the plant pathogen Fusarium oxysporum f. sp. melonis was tested in vitro, and their plant growth-promoting and biocontrol activity against Fusarium wilt on melon plants was examined in vivo, and compared to that of the commercial strain T. harzianum T-22. Several growth- and defense-related phytohormones were analyzed in the shoots of plants that were root-colonized by the different Trichoderma isolates. An increase in auxin and a decrease in cytokinins and abscisic acid content were induced by the isolates that promoted the plant growth. Principal component analysis (PCA) was used to evaluate the relationship between the plant phenotypic and hormonal variables. PCA pointed to a strong association of auxin induction with plant growth stimulation by Trichoderma. Furthermore, the disease-protectant ability of the Trichoderma strains against F. oxysporum infection seems to be more related to their induced alterations in the content of the hormones abscisic acid, ethylene, and the cytokinin trans-zeatin riboside than to the in vitro antagonism activity against F. oxysporum.

Keywords: Biocontrol,Fusarium spp, melon crop, plant hormones, plant growth promotion, Trichoderma spp.


 
 
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