Induced systemic resistance in Trichoderma harzianum T39 biocontrol of Botrytis cinerea

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Biocontrol of Botrytis cinerea with Trichoderma spp. is generally believed to result from direct interaction of the biocontrol agent with the pathogen or from a Trichoderma-induced change in environmental conditions that affects B. cinerea development. In this work we provide arguments for the participation of induced plant defence in T. harzianum T39 control of B. cinerea. In tomato, lettuce, pepper, bean and tobacco, T. harzianum T39 application at sites spatially separated from the B. cinerea inoculation resulted in a 25–100%; reduction of grey mould symptoms, caused by a delay or suppression of spreading lesion formation. Given the spatial separation of both micro-organisms, this effect was attributed to the induction of systemic resistance by T. harzianum T39. The observation that in bean the effect of T. harzianum T39 was similar to that of the rhizobacterium Pseudomonas aeruginosa KMPCH, a reference strain for the induction of systemic resistance, confirmed this hypothesis. Since B. cinerea control on tobacco leaves sprayed with T. harzianum T39 was similar to the control on leaves from T. harzianum T39 soil-treated plants, induction of plant defence might also participate in biocontrol on treated leaves.

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